New Solar Power Projects on U.S. Public Lands Placed on Hold

Solar Thermal in the Mojave

photo by Petor Smit

After the absurd news of the past week revealing in pathetic detail just how far the current U.S. administration has its head in the sand when it comes to pressing environment problems, for some this next bit may just add fuel to the fire.

Moratorium on Solar in Six Western States
We learn from The New York Times, that citing the need to review environmental impact, the Bureau of Land Management has placed a moritorium on all new solar power projects on U.S. public lands in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. Project applications which were received before May 29 will continue to be reviewed however.

The policy reassessment is expected to take two years to complete and applies to both solar photovoltaic and solar thermal projects.
Comprehensive Environmental Review Policy
Somewhere in the BLM's reasoning there is a shred of sense. The stated goal of all this is to develop a single set of environmental criteria for all solar projects, which it is claimed will ultimately speed the application process for future projects. Whether this will truly speed future application processing, or whether it will just slow it in the great tar pit of Federal bureaucracy is obviously the great unknown.

As you might imagine, the moritorium has gotten the solar industry up in arms, saying that this is precisely the wrong time to take this sort of action. Craig Cox of the Interwest Energy Alliance was quoted as saying, "I think it's good to have a plan, but I don't think we need to stop development in its tracks."

via :: The New York Times
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